App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
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One of the major staples of 1980s entertainment media was the “One Man Army” action movie. Commando, Rambo, Missing in Action - the title didn't matter. What did was that if someone needed to save a lost P.O.W. or kidnapped family member, their best bet was to hire a Vietnam vet with a taste for vengeance or former special forces operative-turned-mercenary. With just a pistol in hand and a knife clenched in their teeth, they could be air-dropped into a small third-world country and decimate it single-handedly with enough jingoistic bravado to power a fleet of tanks... you know, if said bravado could be converted into gasoline or something. Don’t think about it too hard. My analogy falls apart under close scrutiny.
But while those movies may feel anachronistic in the post-Cold War modern era, Major Mayhem (courtesy of [adult swim] and Rocket Jump) can let gamers get a little taste of that over-the-top, gratuitously wanton destruction for themselves. The Major’s girlfriend has been kidnapped and he’ll have to blast his way through 45 levels of ninja, scimitar-wielding terrorists and evil agents to get her back.
Following a helicopter deployment, the Major sprints from one shooting gallery to the next, taking cover behind walls, rocks or conveniently bulletproof camels and popping out to unleash hot lead on waves of enemies playing hide-and-seek. The display is uncluttered--just a score counter and pause control--while the Major shows how many hits he’s taken by how little he’s wearing. One shot takes his helmet off, the second inexplicably leaves him shirtless, the third faceplants him in a pool of his own vital juices (dead, in other words). Health can be recovered, along with new weapons, by rescuing panicky bearded scientists that pop up every so often.
The controls are intuitively simple: the player just taps where they want to shoot. One can even use multiple fingers to take out backflipping ninja in rapid-fire succession. You rack up more points by pulling off multi-kills, quick combos and even bullet deflections for those with catlike reaction time. Score hounds will have plenty of chances to try and one-up their friends and themselves.
The only downsides were fairly inconsequential. You have to clear all 15 levels in an area before moving on to the next one, but seeing as there’s a “plot” of sorts, I understand why it works that way. Also, the Game Center integration has leaderboards, but oddly no achievements. I don’t understand why achievements aren’t yet mandatory for Game Center like they are for Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 games. People LIKE having that reward button in their brains pushed. I know I certainly do.
Major Mayhem is yet another addictive time gobbler to add to [adult swim]’s rapidly growing battalion of quirky, tongue-in-cheek titles. Almost anything under their aegis is a safe purchase and the Major is definitely no exception.